Eduard Kuznetsov

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Edward Samoilovich Kuznetsov
Native name Эдуард Самойлович Кузнецов
Born 1939
Nationality Russian
Occupation writer
Known for publishing samizdat, human rights activism, participation in the Dymshits–Kuznetsov hijacking affair and the Mayakovsky Square poetry readings
Movement dissident movement in the Soviet Union

Edward Samoilovich Kuznetsov (Russian: Эдуа́рд Само́йлович Кузнецо́в, Hebrew: אדוארד קוזנצוב‎; born in Moscow, 1939) is a Soviet-born dissident, human rights activist, and writer who settled in Israel in 1979.

Samizdat and dissident activity

Kuznetsov was born in 1939. He studied at the philosophy department of Moscow State University.[1]:145

While at university, Kuznetsov became involved with the first unsanctioned samizdat (self-published) magazines. In 1958-61, he co-edited the underground literary journals Sintaksis and Boomerang, and helped compile the samizdat poetry anthology Phoenix.[1]:145

In 1961, Kuznetsov was arrested and tried for the first time for his involvement in publishing samizdat, and for making overtly political speeches in poetry readings at Mayakovsky Square in central Moscow. Among those also attending these informal gatherings were Yuri Galanskov, Vladimir Osipov and, the youngest of all, Vladimir Bukovsky. Kuznetsov was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

The Leningrad plane hijackers case

Following his release in 1968, Kuznetsov became one of the organizers of the Leningrad plane hijackers or Dymshits–Kuznetsov hijacking affair in June 1970. Arrested for "high treason," he faced the death sentence but after lodging an appeal and international protests against his execution his sentence was replaced with fifteen years in prison and labour camp.[2] This case "opened the doors of emigration to thousands of Soviet Jews."[3] In the 1970s Kuznetsov shared a prison cell with Danylo Shumuk for five years.[citation needed]

In 1979 he and four other dissidents were exchanged for two Soviet spies arrested in the US.[3] Kuznetsov then emigrated to Israel.

Literary and other activities

From 1983 to 1990 he was chief of the news department of Radio Liberty in Munich.[3] In 1992 he co-founded the Israeli Russian-language newspaper, Vesti (The News), which he edited until 1999.

Kuznetsov is a member of the Pen Club and has been widely published in European, US and Israeli media. He is the author of three novels: Prison Diary (1973), Mordovian Marathon (1979) (both written secretly in prison and smuggled abroad) and Russian Romance (1984). All three have been translated into many languages. In 1974, Prison Diary won the Gulliver Award in France, being declared the best book written by a foreign author.[3][4]

In 2005 Kuznetsov participated in "They Chose Freedom", a four-part television documentary on the history of the Soviet dissident movement. He currently lives in Jerusalem, Israel and is a board member of Soviet dissident aid foundation The Gratitude Fund.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Schroeter, Leonard (1979). The Last Exodus. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-95685-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. See Chronicle of Current Events, issue 17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Eduard Kuznetsov." The Gratitude Fund. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  4. In Russian it is titled A Step to the Right, A Step to the Left.
  5. The Gratitude Fund. Retrieved 2015-11-25.

External links